As soon as I finished Dark and Disorderly by Bernita Harris I searched out her website and emailed her to ask if I could do an interview. I loved her book so much, and the little things I noticed within the story had charmed me completely. The following is our interview.
Bernita: Brenda, you dear girl, thank you so much for having me visit and for taking the time to read and review Dark and Disorderly. These are really lovely questions!
Brenda: I loved Dark and Disorderly, so the first question I have to ask pertains to whether this will be a stand alone novel or will we be seeing more of the characters in a series?
Bernita: I'm delighted that you enjoyed D&D! This is a writer's true reward!
Yes, a sequel to D&D is in progress. Readers can expect more adventures with the paranormal; and Lillie has to figure out her attraction and conflicts with Johnny Thresher!
Brenda: I love how descriptive you are in your writing. I especially enjoyed the scenes in the cemetaries, and the garden. Did you choose to include these things because you enjoy them yourself, or was it something you added for other reasons? (I loved that Lillie took the piece of mint from the cemetary to transplant it.)
Bernita: I am so glad you liked those passages! Yes, I like cemeteries, older ones in particular, because it was a style at one time to inscribe details of people's lives on their tombstones, like relationships, causes of death, personal accomplishments--so one has stone-carved glimpses of a kind of social , personal and historical record--diptheria or other epidemics that have swept a settlement, ships that have gone down, things like that. Such cemeteries individualize the dead beyond the brief inscriptions popular today.
And I have an herb garden, nothing too exotic, just about two dozen of the regular kinds like basil, thyme, parsley, borage, chives, parsley, savory, etc. for cooking and salads, though some I grow, like lavender and sweet marjoram, for scent for potpourries and sachets.And some I grow just because!
I dry my own herbs. Sometimes I make herbal jellies. Rosemary, sage and mint jellies are particularly good. Herbal history is interesting, I find. While borage can add a cucumber flavor to salads, it was once called the Crusader's herb. A blue borage flower was added to a stirrup cup for those who rode off to war because it was thought to give courage.
Brenda: How difficult is it to write a story with a mystery? Do you find yourself having to go over details later to make sure the "clues" are in place where you want them to appear? Do you outline the entire plot ahead of time?
Bernita: Mystery always improves a story in my opinion! I'm half plotter and half panster. While I don't write a detailed outline, I must prepare, at least mentally, a general outline of the plot before I can begin a story. Sometimes, a story may take an unexpected direction, so a careful writer always has to check and double check details to make sure they are consistent. I always have a certain anxiety about whether I've made those clues and detail either too obscure or too obvious! One doesn't want to hit the reader over the head with a 2x4 as if to say "Did you get it, huh, huh?"--which is insulting to the reader and poor technique--and on the other hand, you don't want them to miss an important fact by being too subtle and so confuse readers. I always dither and fuss over that.
Brenda: I must say that you took sexual tension to a new level with Lillie and John. Were you tempted at any time to break character and just let them do something they might regret later?
Bernita: Indeed, I was tempted! Especially since explicit sexual content is very much in favor with some readers. However, I decided that it wouldn't be consistent, logical , or even particularly realistic in terms of Lillie's character and situation at this point in their relationship.
Brenda: I know you have written short stories, but I'm wondering if Dark and Disorderly was the first book you completed, or the first to be published? I love your style of writing and so hope you will have more for readers soon.
Bernita: D&D is my first novel to be published. I have the requisite two or three "trunk" novels. They acquired some interest but no sale.That interest, however, encouraged me to keep writing.
Brenda, thank you so very much! It's been a pleasure!
My review of Dark and Disorderly is in the post before this one here. You can read more about Bernita on her website here: http://bernitaharris.blogspot.com/ . You can also find her on Facebook here.
Dark and Disorderly is available for the Kindle on Amazon.